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San Diego police officer’s lawsuit alleges sexual harassment, retaliation after criticizing other officers


A San Diego police officer has filed a lawsuit accusing a captain — her former boss — of making a “sexually hostile” and offensive work atmosphere for her after she criticized two different officers for the way in which they dealt with a pedestrian cease.

In Officer Jennifer Gregory’s lawsuit, filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court docket, she alleges sexual harassment and retaliation, amongst different claims. The swimsuit was filed in opposition to town, Capt. Manny Del Toro and Officers Anthony Padilla and Matthew Zajda.

In line with the doc, Gregory claims that Del Toro known as her derogatory names, and Padilla and Zajada “supported” inappropriate posts about her on social media.

The alleged incidents occurred final 12 months when she labored as a group relations officer within the San Diego Police Division’s Southeastern Division.

Gregory filed a criticism with town a 12 months in the past in opposition to the defendants, alleging harassment and discrimination, and an investigation by town’s Equal Employment Investigations Workplace later discovered that proof supported her claims, in line with the lawsuit.

She claims within the lawsuit that discrimination and retaliation induced her to lose wages and endure humiliation and emotional misery. She is looking for unspecified damages.

The San Diego Police Division mentioned it doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.

Del Toro, a 32-year division veteran, was lately transferred from Southeastern Division to Northwestern Division. He, too, declined to remark.

Makes an attempt to contact Padilla and Zajda have been unsuccessful.

The allegations stem from an incident on Feb. 21, 2021, by which Officers Mark Bellatti and Mark Sullivan stopped two pedestrians who they mentioned jaywalked on Imperial Avenue close to Euclid Avenue. Bellatti and Sullivan aren’t defendants within the lawsuit.

Gregory claims within the swimsuit that when a witness questioned the “validity” of the cease, the incident changed into a confrontation. Gregory, who was known as in as backup, then confirmed the witness a bit of paper by which she used an expletive to check with the officers. Additionally on paper, she instructed the witness to “be good,” in line with the lawsuit.

Bellatti and Sullivan ended up citing one of many pedestrians, who’s Black. The opposite pedestrian, who’s White, was not cited, the lawsuit states.

The witness later filed a criticism with the Police Division stemming from the pedestrian cease, accusing Bellatti and Sullivan of discrimination.

As a part of an inner investigation into the pedestrian cease, Gregory, in an interview with investigators, accused Bellatti and Sullivan of focusing on the Black pedestrian due to his race.

Bellatti and Sullivan have been cleared of any wrongdoing, the lawsuit states. The investigation, nonetheless, decided that Gregory engaged in inappropriate conduct throughout the pedestrian cease, violating division coverage.

The swimsuit alleges Del Toro subsequently known as Gregory a “snitch” and different derogatory names — navy phrases that check with somebody whose actions hurt fellow comrades. In line with the lawsuit, Del Toro claimed Gregory advised Tasha Williamson, a well known critic of the division, concerning the pedestrian cease. Gregory advised Del Toro she didn’t snitch.

Gregory claims that she and Del Toro agreed she would obtain a verbal warning for the coverage violation and search one other place throughout the division, however when she put in for an additional job, she didn’t get it.

Gregory filed a criticism in opposition to Del Toro with town’s Equal Employment Investigations Workplace on Oct. 5, 2021. In it, she accused Del Toro of making a hostile work atmosphere and cited the alleged identify calling.

A few week later, Gregory was served with paperwork notifying her she was set to be transferred to a different place as self-discipline for the coverage violation — not a verbal warning. In response, Gregory filed an attraction.

In line with the lawsuit, after Gregory was requested to coach a alternative forward of her switch, she suffered a panic assault and chest ache. She went on medical depart on account of work stress till February.

Whereas she was away, she was transferred to the division’s Jap Division in Serra Mesa, in line with the lawsuit.

In December, whereas she was nonetheless on depart, Padilla and Zadja “publicly supported a sexually inappropriate posting” on social media about Gregory, she claims within the lawsuit. She doesn’t present particulars within the doc concerning the content material of the posting.

Gregory requested an investigation, and town’s Equal Employment Investigations Workplace regarded into the allegations in opposition to Padilla and Zadja along with Del Toro, in line with the lawsuit.

Whereas the investigation was ongoing, Padilla was transferred to Jap Division.

In March, Gregory was notified that town’s investigation decided that proof supported her allegations. Regardless of the findings, Del Toro saved his job as a captain at Southeastern Division, the lawsuit states. Padilla additionally saved his job, in the identical division as Gregory.

In July, after a listening to on the attraction she filed over her coverage violation and self-discipline, the violation was upheld however the self-discipline was lowered to a verbal warning, in line with the lawsuit.

The swimsuit says she ought to have been reinstated in Southeastern Division, with again pay, however that by no means occurred. Gregory obtained a right-to-sue letter from the state Division of Honest Employment Sept. 28.

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